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Rapid Reaction: Cubs 6, Cardinals 3 (11)

4/12/2014

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs won a seesaw game with the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3 in 11 innings. Here’s a quick look:

How it happened: Welington Castillo hit a two-out, three-run homer in the top of the 11th after Jose Veras blew a save in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cubs scored a single run in the seventh and two more in the eighth to erase a 1-0 deficit and give Jeff Samardzija his first run support of the season. After Anthony Rizzo reached on an error, Ryan Sweeney brought him home with a base hit to tie the game at one.

In the eighth, Rizzo had a great at-bat that led to a sacrifice fly to score pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano who had singled. Nate Schierholtz then drove one home with a bloop to left -- he had four hits on the night -- but Veras couldn’t shut the door. He gave up two runs on a hit, walk and two hit batters. Samardzija lasted seven innings, giving up six hits and just a solo run in the second inning without walking a batter and striking out four. He’s piling up the quality starts after a third straight dominant performance.

What it means: Like Carlos Marmol before him, Veras can’t be long for the job. His stuff has been bad since the day the Cubs signed him.

Samardzija continues to take the next step in his career. He’s simply being so much more economical with his pitches than ever before. He’s outlasting opposing starters by keeping his pitch count down; on Friday, he walked none and struck out four. The fewer the strikeouts the better for him. Yes, that seems counterintuitive, but because his stuff is so good, he can pitch to contact and not be hurt by it. Through three starts, his ERA is 1.29. Enough said.

Barney sits: Nearly an every-day starter the past few seasons, second baseman Darwin Barney has played only against left-handed pitching so far this season. Most of that has to do with the start to the season for Emilio Bonifacio, who has been red hot through the first two weeks.

"He sees the landscape," Renteria said of Barney. "He sees what’s going on. He’s trying to do everything he can to maintain himself [be ready]."

Wright rusty: Reliever Wesley Wright hasn’t thrown in a game since April 4. He says he’s healthy. Renteria indicated that Friday could have been his night to get in. It never happened.

"Wesley is up and ready to go for us today," Renteria said before the game.

What’s next: Game 2 against the Cardinals takes place on Saturday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. CT with Carlos Villanueva taking on Adam Wainwright.